You will know her by the golden fishes she wears in her ears. You know will know him by the elephant ring on his finger. Both are covered in blood, attached by a length of string that's only to be broken by one last dance. In a new video, Khruangbin's soulful, breezy "Two Fish And An Elephant" becomes a wordless short film inspired by the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Hayao Miyazaki.
The Houston-based instrumental trio is an arbiter of chill. Bassist Laura Lee (who now lives in London), guitarist Mark Speer and drummer Donald Johnson Jr. first played gospel music together, then started digging into '60s Thai funk dug up from overdubbed cassettes. But as last year's debut album, The Universe Smiles Upon You, proved, Khruangbin knows its way around R&B, surf, psychedelic rock and dub, fueled by the funky fodder that might be found in Madlib's crate-digging expeditions. With a melody that floats like falling leaves, falsetto ah's that dart towards heaven and snap-locked drums that bring it all back to earth, "Two Fish And An Elephant" tugs at sadness, revenge and light — all in under three and a half minutes.
The crowdfunded video, directed by Scott Dungate, features the archer Two Fish (Chihiro Kawasaki) walking through a warehouse after a bloodbath, with arrows now protruding from the heads and bodies of dead henchmen who sing along. We meet The Elephant (Hugo Luck), his back a porcupine of wood and feathers, in a moment of terror, but as Khruangbin's low-key psych-funk shimmies into a Neal Hefti-esque surf 'n' soul boogie, the partners dance one last time in a macabre and whimsical bit of magical realism.
The Universe Smiles Upon You is out now on Night Time Stories, in association with LateNightTales.